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Getting Started with Home Automation

Home Automation for Beginners Blog

Want to dive into home automation? Then you should check out these four options to get started.

I’m not a techy person, but my husband is. He has added some super cool gadgets to our home that I can’t live without. These smart devices not only make life at home a little easier, but they can also add value to it if you plan on selling your house down the road.

There are a lot of options out there and it can be hard to know where to start. We’ve put together a list of our favourite smart home devices that will get you well on your way to automating your home.

Smart Speaker

If you want to dip your toe into the home automation pool the best place to start is with a smart speaker, also known as a voice assistant.  This will make the biggest impact, they are often on sale and are an inexpensive addition to your home.  The smart speaker will control other smart devices with voice commands. They can even dictate recipes and do conversions in the kitchen.

Light Switches

Smart switches have been a great addition to our home.  Working with our smart speaker, we can ask google to adjust the lights, and program different mood-setting by saying things like “Hey Google, let’s watch a movie.” It is also easy to schedule inside and outside lights to operate at different times. We have Wemo switches, as well as Costco’s CE-Smart (the best deal going.)

Thermostat

We added the Canadian made Ecobee to our home about six years ago.  It was our first smart home addition and we can’t rave about it enough.  Getting a smart home thermostat allows you to control the temperature from anywhere.  There is also a vacation mode allowing you to have
the house heated or cooled before your return, not to mention saving you money. Ecobee was also the first system to have remote sensors that you can place in different areas of the home, feeding information back to the main thermostat to help even out the temperature in the whole
home.  This is a fantastic feature that you’ll appreciate.

SmartLock

Never again will you have to dig for your keys when you arrive home.  A smart lock uses your phone’s location to alert it when you arrive home and unlock the door.  Also, your phone knows if the door is locked while you’re away.  They also allow you to
give access to a dog walker or family member without having to give them a key.   Some brands, like August, simply fit over your deadbolt and aren’t visible from the outside.

Consider This First

Each different platform (Amazon Alexa, Apple Home Kit and Google Home) has its own devices that they work best with.  You’ll want to stay in the same ecosystem when planning out your home automation.  The packing will say which platform the device works best with.

All of these devices need wi-fi with good coverage and strength.  Some internet providers now offer whole-home wi-fi packages.

Some cheaper devices are prone to security vulnerabilities, so you need to look at keeping them on their own network (a secured guest wi-fi works)  When there are updates, you need to download and install them to stay on top of the security patches.

I hope this helps get you on your way to automating your home and making some of the small tasks at home easier for you.  Let me know in the comments what your favourite home automation tool is and what you’re going to do to automate your home.

Heather Karloff is a licensed Real Estate Agent with The Kormendy Trott Team.  Heather lives in Oakville, Ontario with her family and works primarily out of KT’s Milton real estate office, located at 75 Main Street East.  To get in touch with Heather, leave a comment below or send her an email to heather@kormendytrott.com

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